World’s first social science park recruits leader

Spark facility: Hawkins Brown & Wigwam Visualisation

Spark facility: Hawkins Brown & Wigwam Visualisation

Cardiff University is seeking an exceptional academic lead for SPARK - the world’s first social science research park.

A major capital and cultural investment in social science-led interdisciplinary research at Cardiff University, SPARK will sit at the heart of the University’s multidisciplinary Innovation Campus.

Located in a purpose-built 12,000 sq. m. ‘ Innovation Central ’ building, SPARK researchers will have access to bespoke facilities where new collaborations can be nurtured - innovation and visualisation labs, secure data facilities, flexible ‘hot-desking’ and creative, social and meeting spaces.

SPARK will be home to experts in social-science-led interdisciplinary teams spanning areas of societal importance, including public health, sustainability, climate change, the economy, crime and security, public services and social innovation and social care. Co-located alongside external stakeholders, they will work across disciplinary boundaries to develop applied responses to societal challenges and co-produce knowledge.

In advance of the building opening in 2021, the Director will lead, develop and implement an operational plan for SPARK as a new entity, encouraging greater connectivity with internal and external stakeholders as key users and beneficiaries of SPARK.

Professor Rick Delbridge , University Dean of Research, Innovation and Enterprise, created the original academic vision for SPARK. He will now be working on developing new projects and concentrating more time on his own academic work, allowing a new full-time director to steer SPARK’s future success.

“Leading the world’s first social science park will provide an opportunity to develop transformational inter-disciplinary research and take a role in shaping the world around us,” said Professor Delbridge.

“SPARK will build on the University’s research excellence in applied social science and host a diverse group of partners and stakeholders in a brand-new, purpose built facility - Innovation Central - due for completion in 2021."

The successful candidate will have a background of successful academic leadership, a commitment to social-science-led interdisciplinary research, a record of world-leading research publications and experience attracting and managing significant research grants.

They will also be able to demonstrate success in leading academics located across a range of disciplines, collaborating with public, private and/or third sector partners.

Located in close proximity to Welsh Government, SPARK aims to take advantage of Wales’s further potential as a ‘living laboratory’ where evidence-based, policy-and-practice innovations can be trialled and evaluated in situ and in real time.

SPARK builds on considerable strength and depth in social sciences and in inter-discplinary research at Cardiff. Approximately half of Cardiff’s 24 Academic Schools hold ESRC awards and the University consistently ranks as one of the ESRC’s top-performing universities in terms of the value of research awards.

In REF2014, Cardiff performed particularly well with large submissions from Business, Education, Journalism, Sociology and Psychology all ranked in the top 6 units of assessment for the quality of their research.

For the job specification and further details, please click here.


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